Groundcovers are plants that grow low to the ground and spread, making them a useful and versatile addition to the landscape. While they can be quite attractive, they serve many functional purposes. Adding these low-growing lovelies into your yard in South Florida can be particularly beneficial, so if you haven’t tried growing any groundcover plants before, now is the perfect time to get planting!
Here’s Why We Love Growing Groundcovers Plants In South Florida
So, what’s the point of growing short plants when you can grow big, exciting ones? Well, truthfully, you can grow both. In fact, we recommend it! Many low-growers are really quite eye-catching and colorful—especially the flowering varieties. Groundcovers are ideal for achieving a sense of visual balance in the landscape, but that’s not the only reason why they’re worth planting in your garden.
Groundcovers Block Weeds From Germinating
Instead of having bare soil between your plants, groundcovers fill in all those gaps and block the surface of the soil from the sun. This takes up a lot of free real estate that weeds would otherwise be happy to move into. Weed seeds need sunlight to germinate, so having that shield across the soil will stop those seeds from sprouting in the first place.
The Soil Is Insulated From Our South Florida Heat
So, since that sunshine is getting blocked from the soil surface, that also means a lot less heat is hitting it directly. By keeping the temperature of the soil a little cooler, it helps your plants make it through South Florida heat waves without getting stressed out. The roots are the most sensitive part of your plants, so preventing sweltering soil temperatures will result in happier plants throughout your garden.
Groundcovers Slow Down Moisture Evaporation From The Soil
Less heat also means less moisture evaporation! When the sun beats down directly on the soil after watering, that water can disappear in less than a day. However, if you thoroughly soak your groundcover plants, the moisture will soak through to the soil at the root level, and it won’t evaporate right away. Watering earlier in the morning helps to make this method more effective!
Many Pollinators and Beneficial Bugs Seek Shelter Within Groundcovers
Bees, ladybugs, and all sorts of well-intentioned wildlife can help our gardens thrive if we attract them with the right plants. Groundcovers provide shelter from the elements and prowling predators, so these “good bugs” will be happy to stick around if you’ve got other plants for them to pollinate or pests that need to get munched up. Remember, beneficial bugs don’t harm your plants and help manage populations of troublesome pests, so they’re great to keep around! Just watch out for slugs—they tend to like hiding under groundcovers, so be on the lookout for signs that they’ve settled in.
If Your Yard Is Sloped, Groundcovers Can Stabilize It
Gardens with sloping hills can be so beautiful, with excellent soil drainage for plants, but sometimes they can get messy after heavy rainfall. Soil erosion and shifting terrains can spoil a landscape, but you can prevent this from happening by planting groundcovers. A groundcover plant helps stabilize the slope by creating an outer coating of greenery, so a mini-mudslide is less likely to occur.
You Can Use Groundcovers As A Low-Maintenance Alternative To Grass
In South Florida, the upkeep of a lush, green lawn can be pretty taxing. There are so many alternatives to grass lawns that make use of low-maintenance groundcovers, like sedum or perennial peanut. Native groundcover plants are also great because they’re naturally adapted to live in our climate. That means way less watering—and less mowing, too! Try putting together a mix of decorative rocks and groundcover plants to make a beautiful, low-maintenance rock garden landscape.
It Acts As A Living Mulch, Adding Humus To The Soil
Mulch is a product made from natural, biodegradable materials that helps shield the soil while also breaking down over time, delivering nutrients into the soil. Groundcover plants do the same, but they look a whole lot prettier doing it! By building up the humus levels in the soil, your plants will grow bigger and healthier, with better resistance to pests and diseases. It also improves moisture retention and drainage.
Groundcovers aren’t just pretty—they’re useful, too! You’ll be amazed by the impact they have, despite their short stature. There are so many fabulous South Florida groundcover plants available now at Living Color. Visit us soon, and we’ll help you find the perfect varieties to complete your garden.